WHAT IS A PTERYGIUM?
A pterygium is an overgrowth and scarring of the conjunctival membrane of the eye.
It is believed to be caused and aggravated by exposure to ultraviolet light in susceptible individuals. A pterygium can be troublesome and it may become necessary to remove it surgically.
The operation is done as an outpatient procedure. We use local anaesthetic with conscious sedation or general anaesthesia depending on patient preference. The scarred tissue is gently cut away from the eye and, in most cases, a patch of healthy conjunctiva from the same eye is glued over the bare area to maximise comfort, healing and reduce the risk of recurrence of the pterygium.
Mild to moderate discomfort is common after pterygium surgery and usually lasts about 1 week. Most people will need a week off work or normal day to day activities following this operation.
Serious complications with this procedure are rare. The eye will be red and scratchy for some days afterwards. Most eyes will remain a little red for 6 to 8 weeks. The biggest risk of surgery is recurrence of the pterygium. The technique that we use has the lowest rate of recurrence – about 1 in 50.